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UAE university teams make finals in drone challenge

The joint program was hosted by Lockheed Martin and Mubadala Investment Company

UAE university teams make finals in drone challenge
Lockheed Martin's Indago drone.

Following the conclusion of the recent UAE Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Payload Design challenge, a joint program hosted by Lockheed Martin and the Mubadala Investment Company, six UAE-based university teams were chosen as finalists for the program.

Unveiled back in March 2017, the initiatives aims to provide a platform for university students to design and integrate civil and industrial applications for Lockheed Martin's Indago drone. The unmanned aerial system has fostered a reputation as a reliable drone platform for a number sectors, which include emergency response, national security, agriculture and commercial inspection.

Robert S. Harward, chief executive - UAE at Lockheed Martin, said: "Lockheed Martin's role will be to nurture and hone these students' science, technology, engineering, mathematics and related skills with the goal of transforming these ideas into commercial and industrial applications. Through this program, we hope to bridge the gap between university and industry."

The program was hosted at Lockheed Martin's Center of Innovation and Security Studies in Masdar City. A total of 63 shortlisted applications were considered before a panel of executives from both Lockheed Martin and Mubadala Investment Company selected the final six.

Fatima Al Marzouqi, head of Education & Training, Aerospace, Renewables & ICT, Mubadala, said: "Initiatives in STEM education and entrepreneurship matter, as they will help the UAE realise its goals of creating an agile, sustainable and knowledge-based economy.

"At Mubadala, we believe that today's youth are the pioneers of the future, engaging them in the transformative process through smart and engaging programs is therefore essential. We look forward to seeing these ideas come to fruition over the course of the challenge."  

The next phase of the program will see the finalist collaborating closely with Lockheed Martin engineers, who will mentor the students through the design and prototype process. The program finale will see a live field demonstration of the projects. Students will have the option to retain the intellectual property of their applications.

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